How will Linux handle quantum computing?

Refereed Presentation
Scheduled: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 from 4:50 – 5:35pm in Diamond 3

One Line Summary

What must Linux do for quantum computing and vice versa, and where is quantum computing most likely to succeed?


First, a few words about what this talk is not. It is not a tutorial on how to program quantum computers. For that, you should find a D-Wave machine or go to, either of which should provide an excellent hands-on introduction to the current practice of quantum computing. Either way, highly recommended!

This talk instead gives an overview of the current state and trends of quantum-computing technology. It then uses these trends to make some educated guesses about the challenges facing the use of quantum computing in production. Of course, the bigger the killer app, the more effort will be invested in overcoming these challenges. This talk therefore also gives an overview of quantum computing’s most likely killer apps. This will lead into some possibilities of how quantum computing might affect the Linux plumbing, and vice versa. The talk will conclude with the usual free advice, which will be worth every penny that you pay for it.


linux, quantum computing, computational acceleration

Presentation Materials



  • Italy2010a

    Paul McKenney

    IBM Linux Technology Center


    Paul E. McKenney has been coding for almost four decades, more than half of that on parallel hardware, where his work has earned him a reputation among some as a flaming heretic. Over the past decade, Paul has been an IBM Distinguished Engineer at the IBM Linux Technology Center. Paul maintains the RCU implementation within the Linux kernel, where the variety of workloads present highly entertaining performance, scalability, real-time response, and energy-efficiency challenges. Prior to that, he worked on the DYNIX/ptx kernel at Sequent, and prior to that on packet-radio and Internet protocols (but long before it was polite to mention Internet at cocktail parties), system administration, business applications, and real-time systems. His hobbies include what passes for running at his age along with the usual house-wife-and-kids habit.